Goodbye Old Friend

Next Friday the 24th I go under the knife. I am excited to be getting to this important milestone in my treatment and preparing myself through exercise, yoga, mediation and diet. But as the day approaches I find myself more anxious. I have been trying to get to the root of it.

Certainly being under general anesthesia and my abdomen open from my pelvis to my sternum for 5 hours is enough to freak out about. But I have deep faith in everyone at MSK and their gear, I feel strong and healthy and I know it will be smooth sailing medically.

********TMI WARNING********

But they are also going to remove one of my balls. Intellectually I am 100% on board with the move and grateful for the peace of mind it will provide. But I think on a deeper level I am struggling with some grief around losing my testicle. I visualize myself after surgery, with one ball, and I feel a strong sense of loss and an embarrassment with being some minor league brand of freak.

I sometimes imagine being able to talk to it and what I might say.

“Hey buddy. It’s been fun, I’m gonna miss you.”

“There’s no easy way to say this. You really screwed up and we’re going to have to let you go. Thank you for your service.”

“You were always there for me.”

“Remember that time in LA?…”

“You were such a great wingman to Righty – you will be missed.”

“I’m sorry it has to end this way – it’s not you it’s me.”

It’s just not clear what one says to his departing testicle.

I was chatting about this with my Qi Gong teacher and healer. He suggested trying to seat myself in forgiveness for originating the cancer and gratitude for 38 years of working well.

I am working on it.  There is a chance that Ol’ Lefty may be responsible for a spermatozoon sleeping quietly in a vial right now, surrounded by liquid nitrogen, that will ultimately lead to our child.  And up until August I really had no complaints. So I guess I’ll say, “Thank you. I forgive you. And I love you.”


  1. Dominic Zotto says:

    Jay, We are thinking of you and KR….
    Dom and Maria

  2. Joe Ringer says:

    Jay, we are thinking of you and Katie Rose and how you have handled this cancer of yours. Keep up the positives as you have and the negatives will dwindle. Take care and here’s to success with the operation tomorrow.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you,
    Joe and Jane

  3. Hi Jay,

    I just ran across your blog for the first time today. I am a fellow testicular cancer survivor and I can understand your anxiety. After 7.5 years I can tell you that the only thing I notice with a missing left ball is that my left things gets a bit lonely without something stuck to it on hot days. I am not caught up on you blog but from your medical info page, which is incredible by the way, you have been through a lot with 4 rounds of BEP so missing a testicle will be nothing for you.

    I know that the waiting is the hardest part and I wish you the best for the upcoming RPLND. I hope your anxiety will be down here in a few days once the surgery is over.

    You should get me email from my comment so if you need anything feel free to drop me a line, even if it is just needing an open ear to talk too. You are in great hands at MSK.

    Stay Strong!!
    Mike Craycraft

  4. John W. Hyland says:


    Good post by you and best of luck. By the way, as a recipient of three operations in 2013, I can tell you that you’ll be very happy when they’re over and the waiting/anticipation regarding them is done. It’s the waiting that’s the bummer. I’m sure yours will go very well—


  5. ….I’d give my left nut to see that! You’re an awesome man Jay Erickson. You put your shit out for all to see, to laugh with you and cry with you, and your very special care giver Katie Rose. Thank you for sharing. And you have the strongest team of supporters who will be right with you all day Friday and beyond.Now start counting backwards from 10!

  6. Sent from my iPhone


  7. Jay, thank you for sharing and we will all have you in our thoughts and prayers on the 24th. I know you and Katie Rose will be happy to have it over and let the healing begin!!!! Lots of hugs from all of the Ringers. xoxoxoxo

  8. Jay, one of my mentors used to say if you can get someone to laugh you can get them to cry. Your posts hit me both ways at once. And then I’m left so grateful for you and feeling full of grace. Love you brother!

    Ps besides Bocce and juggling I can’t think of any other sports where 2 balls are used at the same time. Just sayin!

  9. bart louwagie says:

    I got one that is way too big. Just thinking out loud.

  10. Darby Ringer says:

    Hi Jay,
    I’ve had a few surgeries and can tell you before each one I was anxious. A book that helped me be calm was Prepare for Surgery by Peggy Huddleston. It also comes as a cd. I bet you could find it on the web. I urge you to try to find the cd and go through some of the exercises. You can play them after surgery to relieve pain. I just “happened” to read your blog. I’m glad I could get this message to you before your surgery. I’ll be thinking of you on the 24th and the days ahead.

    Darby (Lisa’s cousin)

  11. Stancy DuHamel says:

    Your farewell thoughts made my eyes well up – especially when you trailed off as you wondered if he would be the one to contribute the little guy who makes it happen. You are in great shape and we’ll be sending strong vibes your way while you are opened to the world. Xoxo

  12. I hope all goes well and your new future will be a full one. XXX NBH

  13. Hi Jay,
    You are one of the most courageous men I know. Through sharing this difficult journey we all grow.
    All will be well.
    Sending you good energy and love,

  14. Jonathan Richards says:

    Jay — You’re going to be great. And this is as good a time as any to remember the old WWII song, sung to the tune of the Colonel Bogey March:

    Göring has only got one ball
    Hitler has two, but they are small
    Himmler’s are very similar
    And Goebbels has no balls at all

  15. Ralph Linsalata says:

    Jay, the anxiety before an operation is always worse than the realty. As Nike says “Just Do It” and you will win.

  16. patty giesecke says:

    I think you ‘have it’ Jay and remind yourself often what your teacher said. We will be sending waves and waves of love and good thoughts north, on January 24. I am pretty excited about the ‘numbers’ allowing this to go forward. Farewell….to those who will then be….., absent and in time…forgotten.

  17. Jay this post is, as is typical of you, both moving and hilarious (and the English teacher in me wants to point out that it is beautifully written). You were dealt a lousy hand but you have fought like hell to get where you are today and should be SO PROUD, as we all are, of what you have accomplished. I am in awe of you. And your ball(s). Love you very much!

  18. Like much in the human body, it is a redundant system. You can smell fine through one nostril, even learn to think well with half a brain if you have to. Times are hard; you’re just downsizing. Tell him that.

    Love and faith.

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